Data for Social Services

This project will create a report that describes what data government and non profit organizations in San Diego County collect  and use that is related to delivering social services or that can be used to improve the delivery of social services, such as affordable housing, homeless shelters, free health clinics, elderly services,  mental and behavioral health issues and other similar services. The goal of the report is to inform  data producers and data consumers regarding the possibilities for improving social service delivery through collaboration and data exchange.

While most of the data that this report will consider will be directly related to social services, it will also identify many other data sources that can improve social services, such as demographics, transportation and economic activity.

Participating in the Research

If you have been asked to participate in this research, we will schedule a 30 minute phone interview with you to ask about your organization’s role as a data producer or data consumer, or sometimes, both. Typical topics for the interview will include:

  • Overview of what your organization does.
  • How you currently use data, and what data you use.
  • What data you collect or produce.
  • What types of data you could use to improve your operations.
  • Issues, concerns or obstacles to collaboration.
  • Overview descriptions of your most significant datasets.
  • How you  export data from your systems, and how easy or difficult the export process is.
  • Who owns or manages the systems you use for data management.

The best results for the report will result from having a detailed understanding of your data, which will most often be gained by understanding the structure of your datasets. Most frequently, we can get this information from the headers of spreadsheets, usually just the first row. If there are no encumbrances and it is easier, you may also just send us files. This project is not aimed at collecting data, and none of the data you send will be published or shared, other than the first line of the spreadsheets.

The final report will be available to all organizations that participated in the research, and we anticipate the report being completed in late December.

This project will be considered successful if it helps you get the additional information you need to advance the mission of your social services organization. If there anything else you’d like the reports to consider, please contact the lead author, Eric Busboom, at 858 386 4134 or